Bernie Sanders speaking in Baltimore

Bernie Sanders And His Super PACs: Hypocritical Or Not?

Bernie Sanders has long refused the money that a super PAC can bring, which has made him incredibly popular with those who feel money has corrupted politics. However, has Sanders really refused the help of super PACs? That depends on how you look at exactly what is happening within the Sanders campaign. While Bernie Sanders’ campaign has asked for super PACS created by supporters be shut down, they aren’t refusing money from every super PAC that supports him.

It is no wonder that Bernie Sanders can’t stand the political-spending operations that are capable of accepting unlimited donations from corporations and lobbying groups. What many people don’t understand is that a super PAC can be set up by just about anyone. In fact, a past Bernie Sanders employee was asked to shut down the super PAC he had set up because it could be seen as hypocritical for Bernie Sanders to be tied to a super PAC even if it wasn’t one that was being bought and paid for by big business.

Super PACs are everywhere, and there are some that are not corrupt. The largest nurses union in the country, National Nurses United, has used its political arm, National Nurses United for Patient Protection, to support Bernie Sanders’ bid for the presidency to the tune of $550,000. The super PAC has spent money on advertisement in both print and television spots. The leader of the group, RoseAnn DeMoro, denounces the classification as a super PAC.

“It’s not a super PAC, super PACs are corrupt,” DeMoro told the Atlantic. “They’re a way for the billionaires to influence the political process and spend unlimited money. This is nurses who want to get our support for Bernie out there. That’s way different than the Koch brothers. This isn’t big money. I think people understand the difference.”

This is where it gets tricky for Bernie Sanders and his supporters. Does he risk looking hypocritical and accept the help of super PACs like National Nurses United for Patient Protection that are not backed by corporate money, or does he denounce all super PACs? As it stands, Bernie Sanders’ campaign says they can’t control what people do and realize that some supporters are setting up super PACs without thinking of the possible negative consequences for Bernie and his campaign.

“There’s always more nuance to these things when you get away from strict legal definitions and out into the real world,” said Larry Noble, the general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center and former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission. “If you want to look at a report and simply count up the number of super PACs supporting a candidate, that wouldn’t give you a true picture of what’s actually happening.”

Only time will tell if Bernie Sanders’ denouncement of super PAC money will keep him out of the White House. His refusal to allow his campaign members to set up super PACs and denouncing money from super PACs that are backed by corporate money has won him supporters across the country. The concern will be if he has enough money to continue to campaign for the long haul. His opposition has routinely accepted money from the same super PACs that many people say have corrupted the political process in this country.

At the very least, Bernie Sanders seems to be standing behind his words. For a presidential candidate to denounce political corruption and then stand up and not do the things that his opposition is doing that leads to that corruption is big in today’s world. No wonder Sanders is sitting on a large number of supporters who want to see nothing more than for him to be the next president.

[Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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